10 Websites that Make Learning Fun for Kids

By Rob Klindt

Technologies — from interactive whiteboards and scanners to online testing and attendance trackers — have excited a lot of educators in recent years. And a lot of their students have responded with a collective yawn.

But classroom technology doesn’t have to be dull. Teachers aiming to get kids excited about learning need only launch a Web browser to find a multitude of innovative and engaging educational programs and websites devoted to making learning fun. And the best part is that many of these programs are absolutely free.

Art and Multimedia

The Web is awash with images, photos, animations and sounds that can be manipulated in countless ways for classroom use.

  • Artsonia. Students can have their own online galleries to display drawings, paintings, photos and prints they create in art classes. The galleries can be shared with classmates, friends and parents, who can post comments. Teachers can incorporate creating gallery exhibits into student art lessons. Free.
    Visit the site
  • Croak.it. This simple online audio recording tool uses a student’s computer microphone to record 30-second sound bites that can be uploaded to the Web for playback. It’s useful for students learning a foreign language to record phrases and listen to their pronunciation. Free.
    Visit the site
  • Virtual keyboard. What’s more fun than an occasional classroom music break? It’s especially fun when everybody can make their own sounds on this online piano keyboard. Students can learn music notes and create their own songs. Free.
    Visit the site

Games

Most kids are naturally attracted to games, which make great online learning tools.

  • Academic Skill Builders. This site features a galaxy of games for students in grades one through six. Games focus on basic math, spelling, keyboarding, geography and language arts. Free; a premium version with custom games and data reports is available for a fee.
    Visit the site
  • Comics Lab uses comics to make learning funComics Lab. This interactive game uses out-of-sequence comic strip panels to test reading comprehension and vocabulary. Students must move the panels into the right order and then answer questions about the comic’s dialogue. This free game is part of the non-profit Professor Garfield Foundation, which promotes literacy.
    Visit the site

Geography

The blending of multimedia and interactivity can make a sometimes dull subject come alive for some students.

  • Arounder. Travel the seven continents with this impressive collection of 10,000 high-definition panoramic images of famous museums, cathedrals and world geography. Also view art and paintings from the Louvre in Paris and Museo del Prado in Madrid. Free.
    Visit the site
  • Google Earth. Use this popular tool to create a virtual field trip anywhere in the world and explore famous cities, landmarks and buildings in 3D imagery. Free; software download is required.
    Visit the site
  • Traveler IQ Challenge. Students will quickly learn states, capitals, world cities and more with this fun and challenging interactive geography game. Challenges include timed quizzes and photo-location matches. Free.
    Visit the site

Writing and Math

Learning by repetition helps to reinforce basic classroom skills such as reading, writing and mathematics. It can be made more enjoyable for students when they use interactive technology.

  • Instant poetry. Students can learn and practice the style and craft of writing poetry and get instant feedback using these interactive fill-in-the-blank poetry templates. It’s especially helpful in building vocabulary and enhancing creative-writing skills. Free.
    Visit the site
  • Math Playground. Kids will enjoy the bright and colorful interface of this program while they learn math concepts through interactive numbers games, logic tests, word problems and even a musical math arcade. It’s designed for students in grades one through six. Free.
    Visit the site

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